Jessica Jones, English Faculty Library

JessHello! I’m Jess, and I am the trainee at the English Faculty Library. I have just graduated from Liverpool John Moores University, where I studied English.

I chose the Oxford trainee scheme as, as well as providing valuable work experience, I felt it would be particularly helpful to meet and engage with others who were about to enter the field of librarianship. Through the weekly training sessions, we have been able to compare experiences and ultimately gain a more widespread knowledge of the many different aspects of work in the library field. Alongside this, it seems that the trainees roles can differ quite greatly from library to library – and so it is interesting to be introduced not just to the varied work of my colleagues within the English Faculty Library but also to learn about the other libraries through my fellow trainees.

This year, I am particularly looking forward to being involved in the library’s ongoing reclassification project, which is taking place in preparation for the English Faculty’s planned move to a combined humanities building. I am very excited about being part of the English Faculty Library team, and hope that I will both fulfil my duties well and learn a lot along the way!

Annabel Peacock, University Archives


Hi, I’m Annabel and I’m the trainee in the University Archives.  My previous job was at Bristol University where I worked in the Alumni Relations Office.  Before that, I graduated with a degree in History from Durham University, and went on to do an MA in Medieval and Early Modern History at Bristol University.

Although I had used archives whilst studying, this is my first experience of working within such an environment.  I’m really enjoying it so far.  The work is quite varied – I answer enquiries that come in from professional researchers and members of the public, manage material from the archives that is taken to Duke Humfrey’s Library for readers to consult, as well as sorting new acquisitions and cataloguing.

Although I’m not strictly a library trainee, having the opportunity to attend some of the library training sessions and meet all the library trainees has been great.  It’s interesting to find out how everyone else is getting on and hearing about the different experiences they have had.

I am really enjoying living in Oxford and am looking forward to learning lots this year.

Susan Giles, Social Science Library


Hello, I’m Susan and I’m one of the two trainee’s at the Social Science Library this year.

I graduated last year, after studying Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. Since then, I’ve realised librarianship is a career I should investigate as it combines lots of my interests.

This is my first time working in a library so I’m learning everything from scratch. Luckily Alice and I aren’t the only new people here: this summer the Refugee Studies Library moved into the SSL so we’re learning alongside their three members of staff.

So far I’m enjoying both the reader and technical services work I am doing and am pleased that 0th week hasn’t been quite as scary as I thought it would be.

Lucy Kelsall, Bodleian Library

LucyKHello, I’m Lucy, and I’m one of three trainees at the Bodleian Library this year. I’m spending my first three months in the Radcliffe Science Library, and so far I’ve really been enjoying my placement. The library is currently in a period of change, reorganising its holdings and preparing to become the temporary home of Special Collections, so there’s a lot to do and a lot of variety.

Previously I studied English Literature and Philosophy at Durham University, and since then I’ve spent time working with seedlings and finance and, more recently, studying in Japan. This is my first experience of working in a library and I’m trying to take in as much as I can – this week I’ve been giving tours, and am finally less lost than the students!

I’m really enjoying living in Oxford and am looking forward to this year and the traineeship, especially the chance to explore and work in such a variety of areas within the Bodleian.

Emily Brown, Magdalen College

EmilyHi, my name is Emily and I’m the Library and Archives Graduate Trainee at Magdalen College for 2009/10.  Before coming to Oxford I studied Classical Studies at the University of Reading.  I graduated in 2006 and have since been working for Durham University Library.

What attracted me to the position at Magdalen was undoubtedly the fascinating history of the college and its libraries, and the huge variety of work experience available here.  As the trainee I oversee the Denning Law Library, learn about modern collections management and reader services in  the New Library, and invigilate readers using early printed books and manuscripts in the Old Library.

I also spend half of my week working in the archives.  I was very keen to gain this work experience in addition to learning more about library work before deciding which qualification and career to pursue.  Both careers have interested me in the past and I believe that this year at Magdalen will be highly valuable to whichever path I choose.  It’s certainly going to be a really interesting year!

I am looking forward to learning more about library and archives work and completing my project in the Old Library.   I am really enjoying the training sessions so far and have met a lot of lovely like minded people.  It’s fantastic to socialise and swap stories with the other trainees as we all learn together and in our individual libraries.

Laurel Burn, Corpus Christi College Library

LaurelHi, I’m Laurel and I’m the trainee at Corpus Christi College Library. I came to Corpus straight after completing my degree in English Literature at Cardiff University. Before working at Corpus, I had done a little work experience in the main public library in Cardiff and before my degree I worked voluntarily for a year in a museum library in Dorset.

I am enjoying shelving, particularly with an organ, piano or singing in the background (the library is adjacent to the college chapel). I spend every afternoon on the issue desk helping readers. I also process new books and journals. Corpus is quite a small library which means I have a sense of the whole library and not just one part. There are only three of us in the team (the Librarian, the Assistant Librarian and the trainee) so I feel I have a real role to play in the running of the Library.

I am looking forward to undertaking a project after Christmas, as well as the chance to visit other libraries in Oxford and elsewhere.

I am currently deciding whether to study for an masters in Librarianship next year, and I think the Oxford traineeship is a really good way of gaining the experience with which to make such a decision.

Adrienne Cooper, Oxford Union Society Library

Adrienne Hello!  My name is Adrienne, and I am the current graduate trainee at the Oxford Union Society Library.  Previously, I was a digitisation assistant in the University of Warwick Library.  As part of a pilot programme, I scanned book and journal extracts under the Copyright Licencing Agency’s Higher Education Licence, and answered emailed and faced enquiries from students, academics, and library staff.  Warwick University is my alma mater where I read Philosophy and Literature.  I first became interested in librarianship as a career whilst researching an essay about the concept of the library in literary epistemology.

Working in the Oxford Union Library is all I could have wished for in a traineeship. I am honing my professional skills in an august institution that has dedicated itself historically to the personal and intellectual development of its readers – often controversially so.  It is a beautiful library that holds a diverse and dynamic collection; from antiquarian books to the latest DVD releases.  Being part of a small team means that I get to take part in a variety of frontline and ‘behind-the-scenes’ duties everyday: helping readers, classifying and cataloguing new stock, preservation work, and acting as the secretary for the Library Committees.  It is that level of direct involvement in the running of the library which drew me to the position initially, and is already proving to be very rewarding.

Taking part in the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee Programme is a wonderful opportunity to meet other library and information paraprofessionals, and to learn about the various projects they are involved in across the university.

James White, Bodleian Library

JamesHello all, I am James and I am completing my graduate traineeship at the Bodleian Library. Unlike many of the college and faculty libraries, the Bodleian gives the trainee the opportunity to experience many different departments, both on the frontline and behind the scenes. Currently I am working in the Rare Books room and helping out with the John Johnson Project. I also edit the OULS newsletter Outline.

I graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2008 having read Medieval and Modern History. In the academic year 2008/09, I completed an MA in Russian and East European Studies, focussing principally on 19th century Russian history. I worked for three years in the Main Library of my university: it was during this period when I became interested in working in academic libraries and began to consider the profession of librarian as a potential career path. I currently intend to go to library school once this programme has concluded.

Amy Icke, Bodleian Library

AmyI am Amy, one of three trainees working at the Bodleian Library. It is now week three of my placement and I’m really enjoying the work I have been doing. I am currently in Reader Services so am spending most of my time helping readers and finding out lots about the library myself.

Before starting the Graduate Trainee programme I studied at Oxford for 4 years. I read Theology as an undergraduate and in June I completed an MSt in Jewish Studies. I love Oxford and am really pleased to be able to live and work in the city of dreaming spires for another year!

It has been great to have plenty of opportunities to meet other trainees and I am looking forward to sharing our experiences of library work this year.

Charlie Lythgoe, Taylor Institute

CharlieHi! I’m Charlie and I’m one of two trainees at the Taylor Institute. This term, I’m based in the Modern Languages Library, which mainly caters for undergraduates.

I studied English Language and Literature here in Oxford (Lady Margaret Hall), and graduated in 2006. I used a lot of Oxford libraries during my studies, so it’s fascinating to now be on the other side of the desk and to be involved in things readers know little of!

I heard about the Oxford training scheme while I was in my final year at university, and I’m thrilled to be back in Oxford and to be involved. The library is relatively quiet at the moment, so I’m taking the opportunity to learn as much as I can about how everything works before term starts and things get hectic.

I’m really looking forward to this year. I’m determined to get as much out of it as possible, and meet as many interesting people as possible. The libraries here are unparalleled, and I feel very lucky to be able to work here.